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MEA points to 24 staff members being quarantined as to why they should be allowed to work from home
door warning
A sign posted on a classroom door barring entry for 24 hours due to an employee that displayed possible COVID-19 symptoms.

The Manteca Educators Association — in their bid to paint otherwise empty classrooms as a dangerous place for teachers to work during the pandemic — contends already more than two dozen staff members have been ordered quarantined since teachers reported back to work for in-service training last week.

The district indicated only three staff members since the start of the school year have tested positive for COVID-19. Due to laws district officials could not say whether those three people are sick with COVID-19 or just tested positive and have not developed symptoms. They did not elaborate on the number of staff members that may have been sent home as a precaution.

Based on tracing by county health officials none of the three that tested positive this school year nor the other three that tested positive at the end of the last school year contracted COVID-19 at Manteca Unified workplaces.

Manteca Unified Community Outreach Coordinator Victoria Brunn emphasized the school district follows strict protocols as established by the San Joaquin County Health Department when anyone shows or complains of at least three of the symptoms that are associated with COVID-19 as well as an array of other ailments.

Those individuals are sent home to quarantine as well as anyone who was exposed to them for long periods of time.

The district also requires staff to self-check at home before reporting for work. If they display any symptom that might be connected with COVID-19 they must stay at home.

MEA President Ken Johnson indicated Monday “we have had teachers COVID quarantined at five of our schools.  One of those schools had 11 staff quarantined.  Another school had 10 staff quarantined.”

Johnson indicated his belief that custodians are overworked and that the district is not taking steps to clean the rooms. The district emphasized that all cleaning — including that described as deep cleaning — is being done in classrooms and other work places.

The MEA is staging a car rally today  around the Manteca Unified office building to coincide with the Manteca Unified board’s remote 5 p.m. meeting. Johnson said the purpose was “to draw attention to the school district’s unsafe practices during a pandemic. We are the only school district employees in the entire county that are not being given the choice to work from home.”

The district indicated they are following social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols.

Brunn noted that the district has always anticipated positive cases would crop up given there is a pandemic. At the same time they were prepared for people displaying various symptoms associated with the coronavirus who haven’t been tested and removing them promptly from workplaces until such time a test is done. If the person is negative they are allowed to return. If the person is positive they are quarantined for 14 day while others that meet the threshold of being exposed are notified and do not return until they are tested and come up negative.

The district started structured distance learning Aug. 10 with set start and end times. It is part of a three phase approach to the school year that the board approved.

When conditions allow, the teaching structure will morph into a blended approach with half the students on campus and the other half learning from home. One set of students would go to school Monday and Tuesday while the other half would attend Thursday and Friday. Wednesday would be reserved for deep cleaning and teacher prep.

Should things improve to the point all students can be on campus at once, COVID-19 protocols and social distancing would be in place. Among the protocols in place besides the universal COVID-19 precautions are things such as being served and eating lunch in classrooms, refillable water bottled issued after drinking fountains have been modified, no use of lockers, and other steps to minimize interaction.

The start time for all three phases are the same. It is designed, as conditions warrant, to allow schools to shift from one format to another.

The possibility has been raised in the past week that the state will allow kindergarten through fifth graders return to campus if counties meet certain thresholds and local districts request a waiver.



There are now 86 less

people currently positive

in San Joaquin County

Postings on the San Joaquin County COVID-19 dashboard on Monday as of noon show 1,128 persons are currently positive with the virus as compared to 1,204 on Friday.

That is the number once you subtract the 11,736 people that health officials have determined to have recovered from the 12,864 cases since March. That means 1,128 out of 760,000 San Joaquin County residents currently have COVID-19.

Many may never have been ill.

The mask order and social  distancing is designed to protect people from those who may not know they are carrying the virus and who may never show symptoms.

There were 12 more deaths reported since Friday to bring the San Joaquin County total to 223. Of the 223 deaths only 16.1 percent did not have pre-existing conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, or diabetes.

The dashboard posted 561 new cases for the three day period since the last posting for an average of 187 a day. That compares to 184 new cases reported on Friday for the previous 24 hours.

The site stressed case data after July 27 “is severely delayed due to major technical issues in the State’s electronic reporting system. Data regarding deaths have not been impacted.

As of Monday there were 33 of 72 beds at Doctors Hospital in use.  Ten of the beds had COVID-19 patients with three in ICU beds That compared to Friday when DHM had 12 overall COVID-19 patients with 7 using intensive care unit beds. Kaiser Foundation Hospital of Manteca on Monday had 29 beds in use, 13 COVID-19 patients, and 8 using ICU beds. That was almost a carbon copy of Friday with the only change being two less ICU CIOVID-19 patients.

There are 182 COVID-19 patients countywide on Monday with 67 of those using ICU beds.

COVID-19 patients account for 46 percent of the ICU load. There are 145 ICU beds in use of which 46 were converted beds. That means as a group hospitals in the county are operating at 146 percent of licensed ICU bed capacity.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email